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COMMUNICATIONS FOR THE SMART GRID. Smart Grid implications for cable operators. Matt Haile Tantalus 4.6.2011. Smart Grid Overview How do we define the Smart Grid. The application of technology to upgrade and improve the electricity grid

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smart grid overview how do we define the smart grid
Smart Grid Overview How do we define the Smart Grid
  • The application of technology to upgrade and improve the electricity grid
  • Previously SG was Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI / smart meters), now first step is often Demand Management or Distribution Automation.
  • Smart Grid uses technology and business models to improve control, efficiency, and reliability of the electricity grid.
why do we need a smart grid
Why do we need a Smart Grid?
  • A smarter grid applies technologies, tools and techniques available now to bring knowledge to power
    • Ensuring its reliability to degrees never before possible.
    • Maintaining its affordability.
    • Reinforcing our global competitiveness.
    • Fully accommodating renewable and traditional energy sources.
    • Potentially reducing our carbon footprint.
    • Introducing advancements and efficiencies yet to be envisioned.
why is this happening
Why is this happening?
  • Hundreds of thousands of high-voltage transmission lines course throughout the United States, only 668 additional miles of interstate transmission have been built since 2000.
  • As a result, system constraints worsen at a time when outages and power quality issues are estimated to cost American business more than $100 billion on average each year.


regulatory actions act 129 pennsylvania
Regulatory ActionsAct 129 - Pennsylvania
  • Act 129 directed that all electric distribution companies with at least 100,000 customers are to file an energy efficiency and conservation plan
  • Requires a 4.5 percent reduction (1,193 MW) in peak demand by May 31, 2013
    • The utility could be fined up to $20 million for failing to meet these reduction targets.
three pillars of the smart grid
Three Pillars of the Smart Grid





Advanced Metering Infrastructure

“Smart” meters enable time-of-use billing, power quality and outage reports

Economic Efficiency







Demand ResponseEducates and enables a

customer to make “Smart” energy conservation decisions





Distribution AutomationEnables “Smart” infrastructure to enhance asset yield

Delivery Efficiency, Asset Yield

financial implications
Financial Implications

Why is this important to businesses – beyond social implications

  • Think about the scale
    • # of endpoints on network increasing
    • Interval data updates
  • Think about costs
    • A small change in peak demand can lead to significant cost savings
  • Think about benefits
    • Programs typically target 3% - 6% reduction in energy; depends on specifics of program
trends and transformations
Trends and Transformations
  • Technology has evolved rapidly:- Smart Meters more sophisticatedand reliable - Costs have decreased
  • Many early adopters abandoning original AMR systems:- Features that were once uneconomic & unproven now cost-effective, reliable and practical

Driving Change

  • Business case justified
  • Costs reasonable
  • Benefits quantifiable
  • Skilled workers retiring
  • Conservation a necessity
  • Co-opetition among vendors
goal balanced demand
Goal: Balanced Demand
  • Typical Day
  • Utility forecasts how much energy it expects to use on a given day
  • Purchases energy slightly in excess of forecasted peak demand
  • Typical peaks morning & evening; more costly to produce energy during these high-use periods
  • Peak Day
  • Energy consumption spike usually caused by unexpected hot/cold temperatures
  • Appliances & HVAC forced to work harder
  • Two tough choices:- Spot Market: purchase energy that is often 10x higher than retail; costs & greenhouse gas emissions rise- Shed Load: brownout; inconvenience customers


FORECASTED USAGE::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::



COST / kWh


Over 50% of a utility’s annual power costs can be incurredwithin 10% of operating hours.



1:00 | 2:00 | 3:00 | 4:00 | 5:00 | 6:00 | 7:00 | 8:00 | 9:00 | 10:00 | 11:00 | 12:00 | 13:00 | 14:00 | 15:00 | 16:00 | 17:00 | 18:00 | 19:00 | 20:00 | 21:00 | 22:00 | 23:00 | 24:00

goal balanced demand1
Goal: Balanced Demand
  • Goal 1: flatten the peaks by moving some consumption to periods where energy is more abundant and cheaper to produce
  • Goal 2: shed load on specific devices (air conditioners / pool pumps) rather than enacting full-scale brownouts
  • Goal 3: signal customers when different price levels are in effect so they can better manage household usage and reduce costs


FORECASTED USAGE::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::


COST / kWh




1:00 | 2:00 | 3:00 | 4:00 | 5:00 | 6:00 | 7:00 | 8:00 | 9:00 | 10:00 | 11:00 | 12:00 | 13:00 | 14:00 | 15:00 | 16:00 | 17:00 | 18:00 | 19:00 | 20:00 | 21:00 | 22:00 | 23:00 | 24:00

dr scenario 1
DR Scenario #1

Direct Load Control

  • Utility encounters critical peak
  • Load Shed command broadcast to participating customers
  • Power cycled down or shut off on registered appliances (HVAC, pool pumps, etc.)
  • Action verified & recorded at utility; data integrated into billing report
  • Customer can override event
  • Utility can stop shedding event or normal operations resume after pre-set period





dr scenario 2
DR Scenario #2


  • Smart Thermostats (IHD) installed - Smart appliances (fridge, dish & clothes washer)
  • Alert sent to participating customer which TOU level is in effect or if load shed imminent
  • IHD alerts all customers or only those enrolled in a particular DR program
  • Customer decides on the level of participation - full, partial or ignore
  • Power cycled down or shut off on selected appliances (HVAC, pool pumps, etc.)
  • Action verified & recorded at utility; data integrated into billing report
  • Customer can override an event or change preferences / programs at any time via the IHD console





smart grid building blocks
Smart Grid Building Blocks
  • Scalable
  • Easy integration with back office applications
  • Processing power
  • Scalable
  • Public & private comms options
  • Standards based
  • Redundancy
  • Strong security
  • Priority driven messaging
  • Utility lifecycle
  • Appliance connectivity
  • Simple management
  • Isolate HAN lifecycle
  • Customer signaling
  • Evolutionary design




Network Server


Wide Area Network


Local Area Network


Home Area Network

  • Application interfaces - simple TCP/IP links
  • Two-way communications interoperability:- SCADA- CIS / Billing / etc.
  • Multiple platforms - wired or wireless
  • Standards based– WiFi, WiMAX, GSM
  • Public/private
  • Right-sized capacity
  • Cost-effective migration path
  • Rapid deployment
  • Surgical deployment
  • Self-initiating & self-healing network
  • Standard radios
  • Meter endpoints for - electric / water / gas
  • Multiple meter types supported
  • Over-the-air programming
  • Access via meter / load control
  • DR modules: - load control- IHD / smart thermostat
  • Time-stamped
  • Opt-in & out



The Smart Grid Network


  • Command & control center
  • Two-way, real-time connectivity


900 MHz LAN

  • Private and public WAN options – RF & Broadband

Network Server


Wired & Wireless

  • Field initiated network –self-configuring, self-healing
  • Home Area Networks
  • Built for urban & rural coverage; scalable


Demand Response

220 mhz transceiver rt 3250
220 MHz Transceiver :: RT-3250

RF Gateway for WAN Communication

Ensures reliable & efficient two-way wireless communication between a Utility Operations Center and a cluster of LAN devices.

  • Provides long-range, terrain hugging communication in rural & urban environments via 220 MHz
  • Gathers data from multiple LAN endpoints: – meter readings, power quality data, and outage alerts
  • Issues commands to single or multiple meters: – remote disconnect or time-synched reads
  • Read on request or interval reads: – minutes, hours, days, weeks, or months
  • Delivers interval data for advanced metering:– TOU, CPP, RTP pricing– load control & demand response
  • Simple installation in Form 2S meter socket:– solid state & electromechanical meters
ethernet wan collector
Ethernet WAN Collector

LAN / WAN Gateway for Ethernet Communication

A two-way Ethernet hub for utilities that prefer to use the Internet as their backbone data communications network.

  • Connects an Ethernet WAN to TUNet enabled 900 MHz LAN devices:
  • Designed for utilities/municipalities that operate Fiber-to-the-Home network
  • Gathers data from multiple LAN endpoints:– meter readings, power quality data and outage alerts
  • Issues commands to single or multiple meters: – remote disconnect, load control events or time-synched reads:
  • Supports on-demand reads or scheduled interval reads: – minutes, hours, days, weeks, or months
  • Delivers interval data for advanced metering:– TOU, CPP, RTP pricing– load control & demand response
  • Simple installation in Form 2S meter socket: – solid state & electromechanical meters


use cases
Use Cases

A Closer Look at How Electric and Telecoms Providers Would Reach Homes

  • Use Case #3: Wireless WAN
    • Endpoints (meters / homes) are far enough away from each other that we need Sharkfin on each home to connect to the network --- LAN not enough range
  • Use Case #4: Indoor Modem
    • Indoor Modem connected to outdoor meter via Ethernet
      • One of the Ethernet ports on the indoor ONT or modem must be wired out to the outdoor smart meter
  • Use Case #1: Outdoor interface directly to smart meters via Ethernet
    • This is what we show on our display wall
  • Use Case #2: Wireless LAN (Tantalus traditional deployment)




Access Network

Access Network

Tantalus RT-4101

IP Collector


Tantalus RT-4101

IP Collector


han home area network


  • Serves as backbone network for all meter & HAN data
  • Endpoints provide access to home: meter, In-Home Display, load control device


  • Two-way, real-time network established between utility & home
  • LM communicates via 900 MHz
  • IHD communicates via ZigBee or 900 MHz; interfaces with multiple devices
load management switch lm 1421

The Cornerstone of an Effective DR Program

Centrally manage loads directly via TUNet in order to quickly reduce electricity consumption both locally or across the service territory during critical economic & emergency events.

  • Remotely manage in-home customer loads
  • Connects to a variety of appliances: central air conditioners, electric water & baseboard heaters and pool pumps
  • Part of a utility reliability strategy aimed to improve SAIDI & SAIFI results by avoiding overloads, blackouts & brownouts
  • Compatible with low and high current loads
  • End-user flexibility: allows customers to opt-out of shedding events; notifies utility if device is physically disconnected
  • All events verified, logged & time-stamped
  • Easy to install and operate / inside or outside
  • Easy to use Web interface for utility control; over-the-air firmware upgrades
  • Automatically re-activates power after pre-programmed time


programmable thermostat st 1480

Communicating Smart Thermostat to Maximize Conservation

Customizable, feature-rich Demand Response device for customer signaling, load control & a full range of conservation programs.

  • Highly configurable & customizable – implement desired rate structures, load control programs, user messaging and over-ride permissions
  • Supports over-the-air upgrades and programming via TUNet to extend features and change operating parameters
  • Reliable communications, self-initiating & self-healing association within the TUNet LAN; optional ZigBee
  • Bright visual alerts notify consumers when load shedding is active and when low, medium or high energy price in effect
  • Functions as a standalone device or in conjunction with other TUNet-enabled meters or load control switches
  • Confirms commands; time-stamped messages verify start & stop time for accurate billing and regulatory reporting
  • Works with both residential and C&I loads: – HVAC air conditioners and heat pumps


current environment cable opportunity
Current Environment – Cable Opportunity?
  • TV as portal of choice?
    • Vs. previous consumer gateway
  • Power of the Set Top Box
    • Zigbee connections?
  • Partnership to head off competition
    • Muni’s looking to run fiber – and for add’l revenue?
  • Cross Marketing

Consumer Portal / dashboard that allows users to see their energy usage and trends in real-time. The Portal gives users control over their consumption by allowing them to set up custom profiles based on their needs for comfort and desire to save on energy bills. Dashboard controls can also be accessed from any smart phone that can access the web.

recognize the players
Recognize the Players
  • Municipal Electric vs. City
  • Cooperatives
  • Investor Owned Utility (IOU)

Hancock Telecom and Central Indiana Power

know your customer know what itches
Know your CustomerKnow what Itches
  • Know the Industry
    • Each utility’s vision, philosophy, plans and priorities – that’s what drives their SG solution (if any)
  • Understand electric utility economics
    • Generation/Wholesale Power Cost is the primary driver – it’s all about cost/resource avoidance.
    • Is selling less of something a good thing?
    • Focus is on reliability, power quality – non-revenue generating objectives
high level utility overview
High Level Utility Overview
  • Strengths
    • Building, operating and managing highly complex electro-mechanical infrastructure
    • Commitment to reliability and redundancy – failure is not an option (Cost is usually second to reliability)
    • Cautious and methodical – electric service is essential to public safety
  • Gaps
    • Building and managing high-volume endpoint communication networks
    • IT prowess
    • Application integration
    • Managing continuous consumer interaction
what are the opportunities
What are the Opportunities?
  • Seek solutions – not simply connectivity
    • Networks
      • Non-critical communications – the place to start
        • Non-time critical
        • Most consumer level data
      • Command and control networks
        • Critical – failure is not an option…period.
        • Hardest space to break in to…need to build trust
    • IT support
      • Enterprise level solutions
    • OSS/BSS
      • Time differentiated billing
      • Customer portals
      • Call centers
  • How far along are you in thinking about smart grid?
    • Just starting to look into it
    • Have met with local electric utilities
  • What do you see as the key challenges of working with utilities?
    • Reliability
    • Security concerns
    • Geographic coverage /

dissimilar footprints

  • Regulatory issues
  • Operating philosophies
  • Each wants to own the network
what are the challenges
What are the Challenges?
  • Build Trust
    • Haven’t necessarily played together very nicely in the past.
      • pole attachments
      • municipal broadband
  • Understand what’s at stake for the utility (your customer) economically, operationally, politically etc…
  • Rethink customer care. A utility is not a customer. It’s a partner. Your highest priority partner. Often when their service doesn’t work, yours doesn’t either.
mso s and the smart grid
MSO’s and the Smart Grid
  • Leverage the strengths of your organization to enable comprehensive end to end solutions for utilities
      • Utility requires reliable, secure and low latency network
      • Speeds deployment by using an existing access infrastructure
      • Leverages technical skills of communications provider staff
  • Communication service providers leverage their core asset – the network – as well as IT capabilities to provide utilities with the communications fabric over which the smart grid can be deployed
      • Expands service revenue streams
      • Justifies deeper fiber deployment to electric sub-stations, wireless base stations and perhaps all the way to the home
which utilities make good targets
Which Utilities Make Good Targets
  • Some utilities are more likely than others to cooperate
    • Focus on utilities that do not produce their own power - those that buy all their power are more incented to implement Smart Grid
    • The more territory overlap the better
    • Utilities with small IT and telecom staffs are more likely to be willing to work with communications service providers
the future is now
The Future is Now

Adaptable communications technology that meets the broad set of requirements utilities face today and in the years to come.

Crystal Ball Considerations

Technology Built for Future Needs

  • Capacity to grow – single network to supports ALL Smart Grid functions individually and simultaneously – functionality ready when needed
  • Built for speed; instant data and response
  • Designed to interface and interconnect – plug & play

Risk Management

  • Proven technology / adaptability built-in
  • Flexible communications options: – single transport or best combination
  • Single network for cost-effectiveness and easy maintenance
  • Surgical deployment minimizes risk and accelerates payback
  • Open standards for interoperability with future applications
  • Timing: change priorities as objectives shift
  • Beyond billing!
  • Energy Bill impact: – TOU, fuel surcharges, other
  • Home Area Network:– full menu of DR options
  • Distributed Generation
  • Congestion management
  • Multiple utilities: – electric, water, gas, propane
  • Your utility objectives: – today, tomorrow, next year…


thank you for your time questions matt haile tantalus mhaile@tantalus com 919 605 0454
Thank you for your time!Questions?Matt 605-0454
edison vs bell
Edison vs. Bell
  • If Alexander Graham Bell were somehow transported to the 21st century, he would not begin to recognize the components of modern telephony – cell phones, texting, cell towers, PDAs, etc. –
  • Thomas Edison, one of the grid’s key early architects, would be totally familiar with the grid!
smart grid capital
Smart Grid Capital
  • Smart grid is drawing capital investments
    • RUS-Investing hundreds of millions in advanced metering in rural areas; client cooperatives cover 42% of US distribution network
    • ARRA-$3.4 billion in funding for Smart Grid projects was awarded by the Department of Energy in 2009
    • Tantalus funding / finance facility
    • Significant private capital is flowing in to Smart Grid
      • Over $4 billion complements ARRA funded projects
sources of smart grid information
Sources of Smart Grid Information
  • Good reference sites for further information
    • Federal government Smart Grid portal

    • National Institute of Standards-Smart Grid Framework and Roadmap

    • Federal Smart Grid Task Force

    • RUS-Loan and grant programs for electric and water

    • ARRA-Link to see who won smart grid funding through ARRA